Courage Award

Recovering from stroke can be an uphill battle. The Courage Award recognises the indomitable courage and hope shown by survivors and carers in facing stroke recovery. This category is open to survivors and carers and celebrates individual recovery and resilience.

2018 Courage Award Winners

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Amanda and Sophie Clayton (Qld) – This mother and daughter duo from Queensland were recognised for their resilience in facing stroke recovery after Sophie survived a stroke at just 4 years old.

Queensland mother Amanda Clayton is an inspiration, she and her husband Jamie care for their daughter Sophie, 11, who suffered a stroke in 2010 when she was just four years old. 

In 2010, Sophie was having a play date with her cousin when she walked out of the playroom holding her leg. Sophie collapsed and her mum rushed to her aid after recognising the signs of stroke (F.A.S.T.). It was touch and go for Sophie initially, however with treatment and fire-cracker spirit Sophie left hospital 10 days later.

The stroke left Sophie with weakness on her right side, some speech issues and she has had difficulty learning. Amanda has been instrumental in making Sophie's recovery creative and fun. To help Sophie learn how to jump and hop, she and Jamie made her a tail and encouraged her to hop like a kangaroo. They set up the StrokeKidz Facebook page to help other families and show there is plenty of life after stroke. Amanda and Sophie also took part in the Stroke Foundation's Sydney Harbour Bridge climb to launch the Stride4stroke 2017 campaign.

2018 Finalists

  Bill Deering

Bill Deering

Melbourne stroke survivor Bill Deering had his stroke about 14 years ago when he was 32. Since then he has been determined to share his story to raise awareness and support others in the stroke community.

After years of grappling with rehabilitation after stroke, physical fitness became a huge priority and had benefits for his recovery.

Bill suffered a second stroke in 2017, just two days after celebrating 13 years after the first. After his hospital release he was back running, and ran with the Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan in Run Melbourne.

Mal Gibson

Mal was a fit teacher who had just completed a five kilometre walk in aid of keeping young people out of nursing homes, before he had a stroke.

Mal was left unable to use his right hand and also suffered memory loss and speech difficulties. But that didn’t stop him, after intensive rehabilitation he has learned to walk again.

Mal has continued to use walking as a way to recover and will soon complete a 300 kilometre journey across England.

Paul Fink

Learning how to eat, walk and talk again is something that most adults never have to think about.

For Melbourne resident, Paul, it became the reality. Paul suffered a stroke not long after becoming a first time father, so as his baby was learning and developing so was Paul. Through hard work and determination, Paul has reached many milestones including running and shaking hands. Paul continues to make huge leaps in his recovery. He has volunteered at the Stroke Foundation and actively raised funds to give back to the organisation. 

Tony Finneran

After a 37 year career with the Army Reserve, Tony was not going let stroke bring him down. Tony had his stroke in March 2013 and spent over 3 weeks in a coma in intensive care. Once out of the coma an intense challenge lay ahead. Six weeks in rehab learning to walk again, Tony used the grit and determination instilled during his time with the Army to get his life back. Despite having poor vision and only one good hand, last year Tony stepped in to stop an unprovoked, violent, physical and verbal assault on a bus in Sydney.


Tracey Gibb

Adelaide resident Tracey was 19 years old when she suffered a rare brainstem stroke, 25 years ago. She was in a coma for three weeks and left with locked in syndrome.

For years, Tracey couldn’t cope with the thought of going out in public but a call from her Nana in 2008 changed all that. Through the help of family and her carer Ross, Tracey was able to travel from Adelaide to Perth for to visit her Nana which gave her a massive confidence boost.

Despite being unable to communicate verbally, Tracey has showed immense courage by making sure her situation doesn’t hold her back or stop her from living.